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  • Writer's pictureBrian Dooreck MD

"45 is the New 50" When it Comes to Colorectal Cancer Screening ๐Ÿ’™

Updated: Jul 27


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Prolific "Black Panther" star, Chadwick Boseman, died earlier this year after fighting a silent four-year battle against colon cancer. Boseman was only 43 at the time of his death and is among one of many colon cancer cases on the rise among a younger demographic, a concerning trend that has brought the deadly disease to center stage.


"I hope to add real value to social media and share what my patients ask me about." โ€” Dr. Dooreck


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Boseman was only 43 at the time of his death

I'm not 50 yet, so should I get screened?


Colon and rectal cancer (aka colorectal cancer or CRC) rates are growing among younger people, according to a new American Cancer Society (ACS) study. Estimates show that approximately 12% of colon cancer cases in the U.S. are among individuals under 50. This latest finding has spurred the U.S. public health task force to update their colon cancer screening guidelines, recommending that the minimum age changes from 50 to 45.


The Big Picture: Statistics show an upward trend ๐Ÿ“ˆ in colon cancer diagnoses among a younger demographic than in previous decades.
12% of colon cancer cases in the U.S. are among individuals under 50.

Who is at a higher risk?


The precise cause of colorectal cancer remains unclear; however, some risk factors, including cigarette smoking, a diet of red meat, and heavy alcohol consumption, are strongly linked to the disease. There is also a high risk of contracting the disease in people with genetic cancer syndromes or a family history of colorectal cancer.


In the United States, African Americans have the highest prevalence of colorectal cancer. The risk of contracting the disease is also higher for Ashkenazi Jews. If you have no other risk factors and are in one of those racial groups, your doctor may encourage you to undergo screening before the recommended age of 45.

What are the signs & symptoms of colorectal cancer?


In the early phases, many individuals with colorectal cancer experience no symptoms. Symptoms may vary depending on the size and location of the cancer in your large intestine.


Many individuals with colorectal cancer experience no symptoms

Symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • A sudden change in bowel movements, typically presenting with diarrhea, constipation, or atypical stool consistency

  • Rectal bleeding or bloody stools

  • Abdominal discomforts, such as cramps, trapped gas, or pain

  • Feeling as though your bowels are not empty after evacuation

  • Weakness or fatigue

  • Unexplained, often rapid, weight loss

How is colorectal cancer diagnosed & treated?


Undergoing a colonoscopy is the "gold standard" for diagnosing colorectal cancer. Each case of colorectal cancer is unique, from the position of your cancer, its stage, and any other underlying health issues. As a result, there are varying approaches to colorectal cancer treatment. Most often, surgery to remove the cancer is required. Other therapies may also be prescribed, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy.


Remember: prevention is key ๐Ÿ”‘. Regular colonoscopies, paying attention to your body, maintaining a well-balanced diet ๐Ÿฝ and an active lifestyle are significant factors in reducing your risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Keep on encouraging friends, family, and coworkers to have a screening colonoscopy as it does save livesโ€”from a truly preventable form of cancer.

Check out this short informational video on colorectal cancer by Stanford Health Care:



Be aware. Be seen. Be screened if warranted.

Personally


I eat a high-fiber, mostly plant-based ๐ŸŒฑ diet, no red meat, drink 4 liters of water a day, exercise, and am focused on keeping nutrition simple. I am sharing what works for me and what I routinely recommend to my patients.


"Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. ๐ŸŒฑ ๐ŸŒพ ๐ŸŒฟ"

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โœด Connect with Dr. Dooreck on LinkedIn, where he focuses his sharing on Health, Diet, Nutrition, Exercise, Lifestyle, and Balance.


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